Teachers teach math through boat-building

Two teachers from Hamden Middle School help their students learn math and science through boat-building.

When thinking about possible summer school assignments, working on a boat at a country club probably wouldn't instinctively rank high on your list. But two teachers from Hamden Middle School of Hamden, Connecticut, have found a way to create a harmonious union between boating and math lessons.

Andrew Marzano, an eighth-grade science teacher, and Frank Kachmar, a technology teacher, have teamed up to educate eighth-grade students on math and science skills by helping them build a sailboat. Marzano said that the idea of combining boat-building with math and science lessons came to him after watching people build boats at Connecticut's Mystic Seaport, the largest maritime museum in the world. 

The three-week program was designed to meet the needs of students who have faced challenges with math and science and incorporates principles about angles, measurements and adding and subtracting fractions into the curriculum. According to the New Hampshire register, Marazano especially sees value in the boat-building initiative because it "really incorporates math, science, history and English." 

Marazono also enjoys seeing students who "work better with their hands, rather than a pencil and notebook" making the connections between math and building boats, and growing excited about the two as the project continues.

"They start to see it's not just a hammer and nails, but that it's actually something functional," Marzano said.

Michael Cox, one of the students in the program, expressed his enthusiasm for building the boats, specifically when learning how to measure the seats properly. 

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